'Industry Innovation Tours' connect business and community in Weber County
Weber County held its first Industry Innovation tour in October with the company Q Energy. This tour was the first in the county’s new plan to hold these tours quarterly.
Stephanie Russell, Weber County’s Economic Development Director, started the Industry Innovation Tours with companies in Weber County to help build the economy within the community.
It was Russell’s background with a bottom-up and place-based approach that inspired her to start these tours.
“Where you go into your community and you look at your community's assets, you look at the demographics, both the cultural and the actual, statistical demographics, and then you start evaluating your spaces to see what kind of development is right for that community," Russell said.
This all happens by touring the companies, meeting the executives, and getting a look at what they are really about like with Q Energy.
“They are basically revolutionary in the energy business. They've perfected an old Stirling engine. It's a touchless engine, and it works off of helium," Russell said. "And what it does is it uses methane gas, so it mitigates methane gas out of the environment. So it's completely renewable and sustainable energy.”
This first tour with Q Energy has already had impact — there are plans being made for internships with the company through Weber State, and the potential of a pilot program with one of the county’s sewer lagoons.
“It's creating these opportunities that would never have existed had we not brought all these parties together and had some open dialogue," Russell said. "The tour is about asking questions, and really educating ourselves on what's happening, and how we can all partner together to address social issues and environmental issues and issues that are based in community development and economic development”
The next one of these quarterly tours will take place in January.